Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena who ordered for the shooting of unarmed civilians during a protest in Rathupaswala, Weliweriya in 2013, was remanded today by the Gampaha Magistrate till May 31.
Gunawardena was produced before courts this evening after he was arrested when he arrived at the CID to give a statement in connection to the incident which left three people including a 14 year old child dead, and at least 33 injured, where villagers demanded access to clean drinking water. Gunawardena led an army contingent to control the protest, and later ordered the army to shoot the civilians.
Earlier, the CID arrested three other army officers, a sergeant and two corporals in connection to the incident and they too are in remand custody. However in their statements they had said that they were junior officers and were merely carrying out orders given to them by their senior officer, who was Gunawardena.
The incident happened during President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency, and when his brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the secretary to the ministry of defence. Soon after the shooting, Gunawardena was sent to the Sri Lankan embassy in Turkey, where he was stationed in an official capacity. The move sparked outrage, with many critics pointing out that instead of taking action for his wrong doing, the government had promoted him, which was absolutely unacceptable. However, following the change in the presidency and the government in 2015, Gunawardena was recalled back to the country, and the CID commenced an investigation into the incident.